- Hong Kong reimposes restrictions after reporting more than 100 new cases.
- Vietnam struggling to control outbreak at country’s most famous beach resort.
- Saudi Arabia says no cases of COVID-19 among this year’s Hajj pilgrims.
- France mandates tests for those coming from 16 countries.
- NHL season, paused due to virus, resumes in altered playoff format.
- Trudeau announces EI-like benefit for gig, contract workers after CERB ends.
Mexico now has the third-most COVID-19 deaths in the world, behind Brazil and the United States, where a hurricane bearing down on the East Coast on Saturday is threatening to complicate efforts to contain the virus.
Hurricane Isaias’s imminent arrival forced the closure of some outdoor testing sites even though Florida has become a major hot spot, and other states in the path of the storm prepared emergency shelters that comply with physical-distancing measures.
“We had to put safety first,” Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez said Friday.
But Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said no immediate evacuation orders have been given and that hospitals in general are not being evacuated of coronavirus or other patients.
Meanwhile, health officials in Mexico on Friday reported 688 new deaths, pushing the country’s confirmed total to more than 46,600. That put Mexico just ahead of the United Kingdom, which has more than 46,100 deaths, according to the tally by Johns Hopkins University.
Some countries are seeing hopeful signs: China reported a drop of more than 50 per cent in newly confirmed cases, in a possible indication that its latest major outbreak in the northwestern region of Xinjiang may have run its course.
However, in Hong Kong and elsewhere, infections continue to surge. Hong Kong reported more than 100 new cases as of Saturday among its population of 7.5 million. Officials have reimposed dining restrictions and mask requirements.
Tokyo on Saturday saw its third-straight day of record case numbers, the metropolitan government said.
Nationwide, Japan‘s daily count of cases totalled a record 1,579 people on Friday, the Health Ministry said.
And Vietnam, a former success story, is struggling to control an outbreak spreading at its most famous beach resort. A third person died there of coronavirus complications, officials said Saturday, a day after it recorded its first-ever death as it wrestles with a renewed outbreak after 99 days with no local cases.
All three died in a hospital in Da Nang, a hot spot with more than 100 cases in the past week. Thousands of visitors had been in the city for summer vacation and are now being tested in Hanoi and elsewhere.
Twelve additional cases were confirmed on Saturday, all linked to Da Nang Hospital. Officials tightened security and set up more checkpoints to prevent people from leaving or entering the city, which has been in lockdown since Tuesday.
A makeshift hospital was set up, and doctors have been mobilized from other cities to help.
“I want to be tested, so I can stop worrying if I have the virus or not,” said Pham Thuy Hoa, a banking official who returned to the capital from Da Nang.
In South Korea, prosecutors arrested the elderly leader of a secretive religious sect linked to more than 5,200 of the country’s approximately 14,300 confirmed cases. He has denied charges of hiding members and underreporting gatherings to avoid broader quarantines.
The global pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of this year’s Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca, with as few as 1,000 pilgrims already residing in Saudi Arabia taking part, down from 2.5 million last year.
Poverty brought on by the pandemic is also making it harder for many to join in the four-day Eid al-Adha, or “Feast of Sacrifice,” in which Muslims slaughter livestock and distribute the meat to the poor.
“I could hardly buy food for my family,” Somali civil servant Abdishakur Dahir said. “We are just surviving for now. Life is getting tougher by the day.”
The Saudi Health Ministry said there have been no cases of COVID-19 among this year’s pilgrims. All were tested, their movements were monitored with electronic wristbands, and they were required to be quarantined before and after.
Meanwhile, India recorded its steepest spike of 57,118 new cases in the past 24 hours, taking its coronavirus caseload close to 1.7 million, with July alone accounting for nearly 1.1 million infections.
The country’s Civil Aviation Ministry delayed resumption of international flights by another month, until Aug. 31. But it will continue to allow several international carriers from the U.S., Europe and the Middle East to operate special flights to evacuate stranded nationals.
In France, travellers entering from 16 countries where the virus is circulating widely now must undergo virus tests upon arrival at airports and ports. The country is not permitting general travel to and from the countries, which include the U.S. and Brazil. The testing requirement therefore only applies to people entering under limited circumstances, including French citizens who live in these countries. Those who test positive as of Saturday must quarantine for 14 days.
On Friday, the head of the World Health Organization predicted the effects of the pandemic will be felt for “decades to come.”
“Most of the world’s people remain susceptible to this virus, even in areas that have experienced severe outbreaks,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in London. “Although vaccine development is happening at record speed, we must learn to live with this virus.”
What’s happening with coronavirus in Canada
As of 2 p.m. ET on Saturday, Canada had 116,584 confirmed and presumptive coronavirus cases. Provinces and territories listed 101,390 of the cases as recovered or resolved. A CBC News tally based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC’s reporting indicates that 8,975 Canadians have died.
Details are expected to be rolled out in the coming weeks about the Trudeau government’s plan to transition out-of-work people off the Canada Emergency Response Benefit and onto a slightly revamped employment insurance system.
Previewed on Friday, the plan calls for eligible Canadians to shift to EI, while those who are not eligible would move to a new program for contract and gig workers. The government is also promising to relax EI eligibility rules, like the number of hours required to receive support payments.
WATCH | Canadians using CERB benefit can transition to EI, Trudeau says:
In Ontario, as Toronto and nearby Peel Region moved into Stage 3 of the province’s reopening on Friday, the provincial government announced additional measures for bars and restaurants.
Those establishments, as well as tour boat operators, will have to keep client logs for 30 days for contact tracing, if necessary.
There were 124 new cases confirmed in Ontario on Saturday, while Quebec reported 146 new cases.
WATCH | New COVID-19 notification app rolls out in Ontario:
The city of Edmonton passed a temporary bylaw this week to make face masks mandatory in all indoor public spaces, starting Saturday.
Calgary city council voted a week earlier to make wearing masks mandatory in indoor public spaces, also effective Saturday.
Friday was the first day that masks were mandatory to wear inside Nova Scotia’s public spaces.
To date, labs across 🇨🇦 have tested 4,050,358 people for <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/COVID19?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#COVID19</a>, w\ an average ~3% positive overall. Over the past week, an average of 40,665 people have been tested daily (w\ ~1% +ve) as <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/publichealth?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#publichealth</a> continues to <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/TestandTrace?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#TestandTrace</a>.
New Brunswick will welcome visitors from two Quebec border regions who pre-register for day trips only, starting Saturday. Residents of Avignon Regional County and Témiscouata Regional County municipalities are allowed to make day trips to the neighbouring province.
In British Columbia, health officials are cautioning people to keep groups small this long weekend as the province confirmed 50 new cases of COVID-19 Friday.
Officials have doubled down on messaging about socializing safely as Kelowna grapples with an outbreak linked to large indoor parties around Canada Day.
WATCH | B.C. health officials give warning ahead of long weekend: